An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Navin / Cat Juggler (as Pig Eye Jackson also)
Richard Ward ...
Helena Carroll ...
Elvira (as Ren Wood)
Sonny Terry ...
Brownie McGhee ...
Blues Singer (as Brownie McGee)


Navin is an idiot. He grew up in Mississippi as adopted son of a black family but on his 18th birthday he feels he wants to discover the rest of the world and sets out to St. Louis. There everyone exploits his naivety, but then a simple invention brings him a fortune. Written by Tom Zoerner <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A rags to riches to rags story See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Easy Money  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Prior to the film's opening, Steve Martin was delayed in Terre Haute, Indiana. He later recalled this story on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), calling Terre Haute "No Place." The residents of the city objected to this, and ultimately, Martin was invited back to Terre Haute and was given the key to the city and a tour of the local fertilizer plant. Martin repaid the city by opening The Jerk (1979) in Terre Haute. However, in one of the trailers for Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), Martin asks the audience if they'd rather see "Cow Patties over Terre Haute." Also in that film, when Col Kluck throws one switch, it destroys one town in America: Terre Haute, IN. See more »


When Navin first receives the glasses from Stan Fox, the part of the glasses that hook around the ears have almost no hook to them. After Navin installs the nose bridge handle (the opti-grab), the glasses have normal ear hooks. See more »


[first lines]
Navin R. Johnson: Huh? I am *not* a bum. I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends, and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi...
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Crazy Credits

Pig Eye Jackson - Cat Juggler (Steve Martin) See more »


Spoofs Taxi Driver (1976) See more »


Pick A Bale Of Cotton
Sung by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (as Brownie McGee)
Words and Music by Leadbelly (as Huddie Ledbetter)
Collected and Adapted by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax
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User Reviews

Steve Martin is the funniest man ever. Period.
15 January 2002 | by See all my reviews

I am 16 years old. Therefore, i was not even around when this movie was made. The one day, though, i was walking through the movie store, and i saw a sign that said 2 movies for ten dollars. So, with my dads advice, i bought this movie. I watched it, and couldn't stop laughing the whole way through. I realized that Steve Martin is the funniest man ever. Period. Second to none. This movie was the funniest movie I've ever seen, and it got me hooked on other Steve Martin movies. Since then, I seen Planes Trains and Automobiles, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the Father of the Bride movies, and i can't get enough of him. I can only hope that he starts to act in more comedies, because i haven't seen him in any for a while. My rating for The Jerk is ten out of ten, two thumbs up, and five out of five stars. Thank you, Steve Martin.

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